We took the train to Manchester last Sunday, for a spot of shopping and art. After a brief stop off in the city centre we took the tram to Media City and swung by the Lowry. I’ve been dying to see the exhibition curated by Alison Goldfrapp since it was first announced. The first section explores fairy tales and folklore. It features books borrowed from Manchester Metropolitan’s Special Collections Library, inside we can see the artwork from Little Red Riding Hood. A story my son has always hated. However he was intrigued by a Little Red Riding Hood painting on loan from the Merthyr Tydfils Museum Service.
In another room the video for Goldfrapp’s Annabel was on loop, shown alongside a short film of Alison Goldfrapp running scared through the woods. My son enjoyed studying Arthur Rackham’s The Witches Sabbath and watching Lotte Reiniger’s animated film Hansel and Gretal .
The highlight of the exhibition was discovering the work of sculptor Klara Kristalova. Kristalova was born in Czechoslovakia and raised in Sweden. She is known for her ceramic sculptures that have a fantastical, other worldly feel to them. They’re also quite dark too. The exhibition features two of her works Batgirl, a sculpture of a bat with a girl’s face, and Maneater, a beautiful sculpture of a swan with a person’s face pressed into it’s feathers. Take a look at some more of Kristalova’s work here.
After a scoot around the neighbouring Manchester music scene exhibition, where my son was quickly losing patience with art and exhibition spaces, we stopped for a drink and then headed over to the Imperial War Museum North. My lad was suddenly revitalised by the stenches from the First World War trenches.
I cannot recommend the museum enough. Like most people I loathe conflict and felt dubious as to whether the museum would fuel my son’s love for weaponary and fighting or enable him to understand how war ruins people’s lives. There were plenty of hands-on exhibits that kept him and me fascinated. He enjoyed dressing up in camouflage and cracking codes. So much so he talked about dressing up as a spy when he got home.
Unlike other people online we didn’t get enough time to see everything the museum had to offer. Many have complained that it is badly laid out and there is little to see. I disagree, true it is an unusual layout but there is plenty to look at and discover. It’s an interesting free day out. We would go back.
IWM North, The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester M17 1TZ